Lee Daniels Apologizes To Sean Penn In $10 Million Defamation Suit

Empire’s Lee Daniels is apologizing to actor Sean Penn after he implied that he physically abused Madonna. Daniels decided to settle the $10 million defamation suit, which Penn put into motion after Daniels comments during an interview.

In response, Daniels months later, has decided to pen an apology letter to the Academy Award-winning actor in an effort to settle.

“I am so sorry that I have hurt you Sean, and I apologize and retract my reckless statements about you. How thoughtless of me. You are someone I consider a friend, a brilliant actor and true Hollywood legend and humanitarian.”

Daniels continued.

“My most important role is as a father, and it is important to me that my children learn that it is wrong to reference gossip as fact, as I did here.”

According to TMZ, Daniels vowed to donate to Sean Penn’s Haitian relief charity.

Penn responded to Daniels’ letter.

“I accept Lee’s heartfelt apology and appreciate the sincerity with which it was delivered.”

At the time, Empire’s co-creator was sticking up for Terrence Howard’s domestic violence history and did so by comparing Howard to Sean Penn. “[Terrence] ain’t done nothing different than Marlon Brando or Sean Penn, and all of a sudden he’s some f*****’ demon.”

Back in September, Sean Penn’s lawyer said a statement about Daniels’ choice words.

“Daniels falsely equates Penn with Howard, even though, while he has certainly had several brushes with the law, Penn (unlike Howard) has never been arrested, much less convicted, for domestic violence, as his ex-wives (including Madonna) would confirm and attest.”

The lawyer continued.

“Sean is dismayed at the gratuitous attacks and statements that have been made over the years at his expense, and he wants to take a stand and correct the record.”

Originally, prior to an apology, Lee Daniels brought up the first amendment in his defense. Penn’s lawyer addressed this by stating the following.

“Unfortunately for Daniels, his statements — which by direct reference to Howard’s misconduct, falsely accuse Penn of committing serious, multiple crimes against women — are not protected by the First Amendment.”

His lawyer also told Deadline that Penn is dismayed at the “gratuitous attacks” and “statements that have been made over the years at his expense, and he wants to take a stand and correct the record.”

Sean Penn’s ex-wife Madonna released a statement in regard to Daniels assertions.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Madonna signed a declaration of oath that her ex Sean Penn never assaulted her.

The declaration states the following.

“I am aware of the allegations that have surfaced over the years accusing Sean of incidents of physical assault and abuse against me. Specifically, I am aware of the allegations concerning an alleged incident that occurred in June 1987, whereby (according to tabloid reports), Sean allegedly struck me with a baseball bat. I know the allegations in those and other reports to be completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false.”

She brings up another incident in 1989 where it was said that Sean Penn was arrested for domestic assault and battery against her. Madonna states, “I know those allegations to be false. While we certainly had more than one heated argument during our marriage, Sean has never struck me, “tied me up, or physically assaulted me.”

This is just one of several lawsuits Daniels has had to endure since his hit show Empire came onto the scene. That said, his other lawsuits have to do with different people coming forward to state Empire has stolen likeness from their lives.

[Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images]

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